Just in time for the summer travel season, American Express has unveiled a modernized version of its venerable paper Travelers Cheques with the American Express(R) Travelers Cheque Card, a prepaid, reloadable card that can be used at merchants and ATMs worldwide that accept American Express. 

The Travelers Cheque Card offers 24-hour refundability and peace of mind for those planning a summer vacation this year -- that's nearly half of all Americans (47%), according to the American Express Summer Travel Payment Survey also released today. 

While Americans carry a significant amount of cash -- spending approximately $100 billion in cash annually when they travel -- they agree that cash is the least safe form of travel money (68%), according to the American Express survey.  Travelers Cheques are broadly seen by travelers as the safest form of "travel money" -- cited by 40% of respondents. 

It's no surprise that losing a wallet tops the list of money-related concerns, cited by more than a third of those surveyed (37%).  Other money concerns are budgeting wisely (29%), losing credit cards (10%), a passport (7%) or debit card  (5%). 

One in ten surveyed has either lost cash or had it stolen while traveling.  Those reporting losses of cash, credit and debit cards, and identification documents spent eight hours of their vacations on average seeking emergency assistance; for more than one in four (27%) the problem was never resolved.

Travelers are also worried about the risks associated with losing their debit cards while traveling. They fear a lost or stolen debit card could put them at risk for identity theft (42%), could result in financial loss because it is linked to their bank account (38%), and provide less control over currency fluctuations since they are subject to each bank's exchange rates (17%). 

"Today's travelers have an increasing number of worries when it comes to protecting their funds and valuables," said Valerie Soranno Keating, President, American Express Global Travelers Cheques and Prepaid Services Group.  "The Travelers Cheque Card takes safe travel to a whole new level, helping to ensure they will have a stress-free trip."

Travel Precautions: From None to Some
One in four (25%) admit they don't take any special precautions to protect their valuables while traveling.  Forty percent separate and carry their cash, credit cards and travel documents in different pockets; a third (33%) use hotel safes, and nearly as many (31%) make sure they carry credit and debit cards that can easily be replaced if lost.  More than one in five travelers (22%) carry their valuables in a hidden money belt or pouch.

Managing "Euro Shock" This Summer
According to the survey, of the millions of Americans traveling to Europe this summer, half say U.S. Dollar exchange rates will impact their plans (53%).  Many will cap their costs by paying for as much of their trip in advance, locking in exchange rates (44%); about a third (35%) say they will be more careful about budgeting.

The American Express Travelers Cheque Card addresses many of concerns highlighted in the survey, offering travelers a safe and convenient payment method.  Unlike debit cards, the Travelers Cheque Card is not linked to a bank account, helping reduce the risk of financial loss and identity theft.

Travelers Cheque Card Features and Benefits

  • Not linked to a bank account
  • Worldwide refunds, within 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • Accepted at millions of places worldwide, including ATMs
  • The option to reload the Card, virtually anywhere, anytime
  • Passport and credit card replacement assistance at no additional cost
  • Customer Service support worldwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Available in U.S. Dollar, Euro and British Pound Sterling, providing the ability to lock in exchange rates

The Travelers Cheque Card can be purchased via telephone toll-free, at 1-888-412-6945, through the American Express web site at http://www.americanexpress.com/tcc or in person at participating banks.

The American Express Summer Travel Payment Survey was conducted by telephone between April 20-28, 2005 as part of an omnibus study and surveyed 1,381 adults aged 18 or older.